With one ninja-like sharp sabre move the champagne bottle opens and starts to flow. Champagne sabrage is a technique developed by Napoleon (the French emperor, not Napoleon Dynamite) just after the French revolution.
Evidently, Napoleon liked to drop in for a visit and celebrate his victory with parties where the cavalry took to opening champagne with their sabres. Slicing the top off a champagne bottle with a sword has to be the best party trick ever, and the woman who knows how to do it almost blindfolded is Amanda Reboul, otherwise known as the Bubble Diva.
“Champagne! In victory, one deserves it; in defeat, one needs it.” Napoleon.
Sabrage is a technique for opening a champagne bottle with a sabre, used for ceremonial occasions. You slide the sabre along the bottle’s body to break the top of the neck away, leaving the neck of the bottle open and ready to pour. The force of the blunt side of the blade hitting the lip breaks the glass to separate the collar from the neck of the bottle. Don’t use the sharp side of the blade and the cork and collar remain together after separating from the neck.
Amanda Reboul and Anthony Damien Rossi get ready to sabrage!
What you need to know about champagne sabrage
Amanda Reboul, The Bubble Diva, shares her tips for champagne sabrage.
Is it hard to sabrage?
I would love to say it takes enormous skill and precision, but it is really just a question of physics and know-how.
How did you learn how to do it?
I was lucky enough to end up in the restaurant of the chef, Jean-Claude Jalloux, the Grand Maitre, who started the ‘Confrerie du Sabre d’Or (Brotherhood of the Golden Sabre) in the small village of Apremont not far outside of Paris, through a mutual friend and told him of my fascination. He initiated me right there and then in his crowded restaurant Le Grange Aux Loups, sabering right into the fireplace!
Do you have a special trick?
The special trick with sabrage is to make sure the bottleneck is nice and cold and that you follow the blade along the seam of the bottle with a firm follow-through.
Can you still drink the champagne?
Of course! Because of the pressure escaping from the bottle when the top is knocked off, nothing can fall back into the neck of the bottle. If anything is lost, or if there are any shards of glass, they fall on the ground – not back into the bottle! With a bit of skill and good timing, not much is wasted, and the bottle can be enjoyed. Our VIP guests at Effervescence are having a whole ‘sabrage’ dinner with Pol Roger champagnes. All of the sabred champagnes will be served during the meal!
If you want to know more about champagne or talk to the Bubble Diva contact Amanda Reboul.
Importantly Kerry, it works with all sparkling wine, not just champagne
I didn’t realise that, but of course, it’s logical. Trust you to know Peter!